Jimi Hendrix's estate refused to grant music rights unless they were allowed full participation in the film's production. For that reason, all of the Hendrix songs in the film are covers. At the time the movie is set, 1966-67, Hendrix had three top 10 singles in the UK ("Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," and "The Wind Cries Mary") and a hit album ("Are You Experienced"). See more »
When Jimi Hendrix plays Sergeant Pepper at the Saville Theatre, he plays a Gibson Flying V instead of a right-handed Fender Stratocaster. The V also featured different graphics, and lacked the tremolo that was on the one he played later in his career. See more »
I got no intentions. I see how intentions do people. They're like, I'm gonna plan to do this and I'm planning to do that. And as soon as things don't work out, it fucks them all up.
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Jimi: All Is By My Side starts in June 1966, when Jimi Hendrix was just a young struggling R&B musician trying to make it in New York. It ends moments before Jimi leaves London to appear at the Monterey Pop Festival, June 1967.
This was an exciting period in Hendrix's life, but what director/writer John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) offers the audience is a slow-paced drama full of inaccuracies, and not even one note of original Hendrix music. It helps to know a little about the rock star's life before watching the movie, but the more you know, the more fault you find.
The story seems mostly told from the perspective of Linda Keith (Imogen Poots), girlfriend of Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. While Richards is away on tour, Linda discovers Hendrix at a discotheque, introduces him to LSD, and unites him with a producer who has plans to make him a big star in England. Unfortunately, too much of the next 117 minutes focuses on the rivalry between Linda Keith and Hendrix's new girlfriend Kathy Etchingham (Hayley Atwell).
André Benjamin does a decent job of capturing Hendrix's chain-smoking, gum-chewing, cosmic babble persona, but not much of his stage charisma. His lines are a conglomeration of quotes Hendrix said years after this short time frame. The line "When the power of love overcomes the love of power " was never even said by Hendrix. There are also several uses of current urban slang like "hella" and "fo' real" that easily flow off the tongues of the '60s characters.
The real life Kathy Etchingham has objected to her portrayal in this film from its very start. Etchingham is portrayed as having an instant infatuation with Hendrix but tolerates several beatings from him. Etchingham does admit there was a time when she threw a plate at Hendrix after he made snide comments about her bad cooking, but it was nothing like the bloody scene in the movie where in a jealous rage Hendrix beat her with a telephone receiver until she was unconscious and hospitalized.
Also disappointing was session player Robert "Waddy" Wachtel's take on Hendrix's sound in the studio and on stage. Granted, those are some big shoes to fill, but Wachtel's guitar work falls way below an acceptable line. The scene where Hendrix wins over Chas Chandler (Andrew Buckley)with a stunning guitar solo at the Café Wha? comes off lackluster, as is the version of "Sgt. Pepper's " which isn't even close to the way The Jimi Hendrix Experience played it on several occasions.
As mentioned earlier, no original Hendrix music was authorized for this movie. Experience Hendrix LLC (run by Hendrix's step-sister) said no to the project early on, so all Hendrix fans are left with are covers like "Wild Thing" and "Killin' Floor." And for some reason, "Hey Joe" was left out. Hendrix's cover of "Hey Joe" was an important motivator for Chas Chandler to bring Hendrix to England. It went to Number 6 in the U.K., but the movie gives the impression that Hendrix wasn't having any chart success.
As the credits role, Benjamin and Wachtel do an odd duet of "Bleeding Heart" in the style of the Hendrix's acoustic version of "Hear My Train a Comin'." The whole experience felt like a low- budget made-for-TV flick that came out in 1974. Jimi Hendrix deserves far better. http://bammagazine.com/hendrix-without-his-mojo-or-hey-joe-2/
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